Wales' Sam Warburton takes inspiration from Gareth Bale's heroics
ESPN Staff
September 10, 2015
Sam Warburton
Sam Warburton© Photo by Michael Steele/Getty Images

Real Madrid star Gareth Bale will be a source of inspiration for Wales skipper Sam Warburton as the Rugby World Cup looms ever closer.

Bale's Wales side are on the verge of qualifying for Euro 2016 and Warburton has been keeping a close eye on his form. The pair were classmates at Cardiff's Whitchurch High School and Warburton wants to "tap into" the good feeling generated by Bales' heroics.

"Gareth has been world class and it has created a feel-good factor throughout the country - and we want to tap into that," Warburton said in The Sun. "He is an awesome player and he also provided my footballing claim to fame.

"He once said if I wasn't playing in defence for our school team we'd probably have lost more games than we won! Me, him and my twin brother Ben were among the same big group of mates.

"Seeing him play as a youngster made me realise rugby was always going to be a better option for me. My only regret is he gets paid slightly more than I do!"

Warburton is expecting a good luck message prior to their World Cup opener against Uruguay before then facing England at Twickenham and Australia the week after. Though they will be playing the Wallabies away from their familiar Millennium Stadium surroundings, Warburton sees it as a boost to their chances of knocking over Australia.

"I have played Australia four times at the Millennium Stadium and lost narrowly every time. They seem to love playing there but haven't had anywhere near as much success against England at Twickenham, so it won't have such happy memories. I don't know whether the English would rather see us or Australia go through with their team, but I hope they get behind us.

"I'd always get behind a Home Union team when Wales are not involved and there's also the Lions factor. We come together as one unit every four years and any differences we might have need to be forgotten. It's good for Northern Hemisphere rugby if a side from Europe does well.

"I remember when England beat New Zealand in 2012 a Welsh fan said to me that's bad news. But I said, no it lets every other Northern Hemisphere side know they can do the same - and it sows a seed of doubt into All Blacks' minds."

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